Need motivation to work out? Most of us hit the gym or pound the pavement to improve cardiovascular health, and of course, to get a rockin’ bod, but working out has above the neck benefits too.

Are you constantly misplacing your car keys, or often can’t seem to find the right word? As bizarre as it sounds, scheduling more gym time may be the solution to your problems!

Studies show that making time for exercise provides some serious mental benefits.

Most of us are aware of what happens to the body when we exercise; when it comes to exercise and the brain though, the connection isn’t so clear.

Exercise pumps more blood throughout the body, including to the brain. More blood means more oxygen and, therefore, better nourished brain tissue.

Exercise also spurs the brain to produce more of a protein called brain-derived neurotrophic factor, or BDNF. This powerful protein encourages brain cells to grow, interconnect, and communicate in new ways. Studies also suggest exercise plays a big role in the production of new brain cells in the part of the brain involved in learning and memory skills. At the same time endorphins are released to minimize the discomfort of exercise, and off course, make us feel good.

Your brain is no different than the rest of the muscles in your body – you either use it or you lose it!

The benefits of physical exercise, especially aerobic exercise, have positive effects on brain function on multiple fronts, ranging from molecular to behavioural level:

  • Exercise boosts brain power. Smarty (spandex) indeed! Studies suggest that aerobic exercise is the single most important variable to increase the production of new neurons in the hippocampus.
  • Sharpens the memory. A study showed that running sprints improved the vocabulary retention among healthy adults.
  • Reduces stress and anxiety. Rough day at the office? Exercise increases concentrations of norepinephrine, a chemical that can moderate the brain’s response to stress.
  • Exercise is a powerful anti-depressant. Studies have shown that exercise can even alleviate symptoms among the clinically depressed. So, release those endorphins and boost your mood by working out for just 20 minutes a few times a week!
  • Get your creative juices flowing. A gym session can boost creativity for up to 2 hours afterwards. So, if you need some inspiration, hit the treadmill!
  • Prevents addiction. Exercise plays a crucial role in many addiction treatment programs. Feel good chemicals are released and provides a healthy alternative to addictions.
  • Prevents cognitive decline. As we get older our brains get a little … hazy. Exercise and healthy eating can’t “cure” Alzheimer’s, but they can help shore up the brain against cognitive decline that begins after 45. Working out boosts the chemicals in the brain that prevent degeneration.
  • Boosts your self-confidence. The moment you hit the gym, you feel like a supermodel! Right? Regardless of weight, size, gender, or age, exercise can quickly alleviate a person’s perception of his or her attractiveness.
  • Exercise will help you to get a good night’s sleep. Moving around four to five hours before bedtime raises the body’s core temperature. When the body temperature drops back to normal a few hours later, it signals the body that it’s time to sleep. A good night’s sleep is crucial in getting more done.

Ready to work out both your bod and brain? Fedhealth members can now gym for up to 80% less at Planet Fitness and up to 60% less at Virgin Active. Plus, if you join before 31 May you won’t even have to pay the R850 joining fee at Planet Fitness! Step up and click here to join now.


DISCLAIMER: The information on this website is for educational purposes only, and is not intended as medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. If you are experiencing symptoms or need health advice, please consult a healthcare professional.